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traditionally the party for regional Australia? And also what's your view on the current situation with selling GrainCorp to US multinational ADM? CLIVE PALMER: Well, firstly we don't think we should sell GrainCorp because it's very important for the nation really to retain independence in its agricultural industry. And we've seen a situation where some of the authorities have attacked some of the work that happened in Iraq, and under Saddam Hussein and the grain industry, but the people buying GrainCorp have been involved in the same practices for a long time. So, we think it's a negative thing for Australia, and it limits the ability of the Australian Government to regulate and to work all those things out, especially if that's bound up with a new trade variation of our free trade agreement with the United States. So, we're dead against it. I know National Party is against it too, but there's a difference between us and the National Party, the National Party will say they're against it, Joe Hockey's going to come out and approve it and say ‘I've approved it with certain strict conditions’ and that's it, and a whole lot of banks in Sydney are going to make $120 million out of it in commission. And they're down here in Canberra now, lobbying and wining and dining all the Liberals. Now, I was a former official spokesman of the National Party, a life member of the National Party, for many years, and the difference between me and the current National Party on that issue is I wouldn't stick with the Coalition on those grounds; I wouldn't desert the people of regional Australia. And that's our difference you see. COLIN BETTLES: Do you think Brendon Grylls' model for the independent WA Nationals is a better form of representation for rural Australia? CLIVE PALMER: Well Brendon Grylls is a friend of mine and I think what he's done in Western Australia has been very positive. But I think when we're dealing with problems that we face on a national level we've got to deal with all of Australia, There are a whole lot of issues in the regional area such as labelling, and you probably know what most of them are. But we've got policies to support regional Australia. You know, if we're going to grow the country for everyone living in Sydney and Melbourne, and be independent in our food production, we've really got to support diversification and decentralisation in this country, and that's something that hasn't happened. You can drive from New York across to Los Angeles and see all the development in the United States, but there's no focus on the bush here at all. It's getting smaller and smaller and the Coalition side is in decline, the National Party voice is soon becoming the Liberal voice and regional Australia is losing out. COMPERE: Next question is from Julia Holman. CLIVE PALMER: Hi Julia. JULIA HOLMAN: Hi, Julia Holman from Triple J Hack. Mr Palmer, Kevin Rudd spent a lot his time during the election campaign on the offensive with News Corp, and I'm just wondering, seeing how badly it backfired for Kevin Rudd, whether you're worried the same thing might happen to you? CLIVE PALMER: Well, I'd just say first of all I admire Rupert Murdoch and what he stands for, and some of his policies. His speech at the IGA earlier in the year was one of the best speeches given by any Australian business leader in more than a century. So, there's question about me ideologically agreeing with some of the things he said, and some of the things he's achieved in the United States and elsewhere, right? But I take issue with Rupert Murdoch on the independence of this country, for whatever reason he's decided to be a US citizen. He's decided to live in New York, he's no longer an Australian, and I resent the fact that anyone, regardless of their political persuasion, of foreign nationality can come over here and can sack an editor of a major paper, lay the law down as a bully to a whole lot of Australian journalists, and some of the rubbish we've seen on the front pages of people critical of the Labor Party, and dressed as clowns, in the case of Peter Beattie in the Courier-Mail in Brisbane, I just think that's not real good quality journalism that we should be aimed up against. So, I don't think a foreign person, and a foreign national, should be deciding what Australians should think. It's a matter The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 229


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